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Three Surviving Frustaci Septuplets Mark Second Birthday

May 21, 1987

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) _ The three surviving Frustaci septuplets marked their second birthday today, with their parents continuing efforts to keep the toddlers out of the spotlight.

Paternal grandmother Betty Frustaci, 65, of Westchester would say only that the three, Patricia Ann, Stephen Earl and Richard Charles are alert and ″adorable″ and have begun to walk and talk.

Andrew Wallet, an attorney who represents parents Samuel and Patricia Frustaci in business matters, said the family’s experience of caring for the three babies and coping with the deaths of their four siblings has been ″a demanding situation ... they’re still struggling.″

The Frustacis have avoided publicity since May 21, 1985, when Mrs. Frustaci gave birth to septuplets after taking the fertility drug Pergonal.

In the 19 days that followed, they had to deal with the deaths of four babies and the barrage of news accounts about the historic births.

There’s been no announcement about the condition of the survivors, and the parents have declined requests for interviews.

A year ago, attorney Janice Corsino, who represents the Frustacis in a malpractice suit against a doctor, said the children had health problems.

Grandmother Frustaci said she doesn’t ask about the children’s health.

″I’m so busy picking up one, then picking up two, and holding two, and holding three - I don’t ask a thing,″ she said. ″They’re all adorable.″

Patricia Ann, the firstborn, was the first of the three to walk, she said. Richard Charles is walking somewhat. Stephen Earl, the cautious one, walks when somebody holds his hand.

″They’re doing fine,″ neighbor Dennis Briggs said. ″The kids are doing good. They seem to be OK.″

Christina Elizabeth was stillborn; three other babies, James Martin, Bonnie Marie and David Anthony, nicknamed ″Peanut,″ died within a few days.

The parents filed a $3 million lawsuit against Dr. Jaroslav Marik of Los Angeles, who prescribed the fertility drug.

The Frustacis contend Marik failed to perform tests that would have shown there were seven mature eggs in the mother’s ovaries waiting to be fertilized. The suit alleges wrongful death, physical pain and mental anguish.

Marik has denied wrongdoing and declined comment on the suit.

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